Kildare County Council secures funding of over €4.2 million for the Athy Food, Drink & Skills Innovation Hub
Kildare County Council has welcomed the announcement today by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD of over €4.2 million in funding for the Athy Food, Drink & Skills Innovation Hub.
Kildare County Council’s plans, spearheaded by the Kildare County Council’s Local Enterprise Office are to convert the historic Model School in Athy into a centre for educational and entrepreneurial excellence for the food sector, providing a dedicated space for enterprise development, job creation and training in the region. The Hub will contribute to the economic regeneration, strengthening and building of resilience in Athy.
In addition to offering fresh approaches to food and culinary skills training, this hub will provide a space for food producers in Kildare and the wider region to access high class facilities to enable them to develop innovative food concepts and to commence small scale production.
In securing this funding, Jacqui McNabb, Head of Enterprise and Economic Development, Kildare County Council said, “It is a fantastic day for all involved, our food producing clients and the County, which has been 5 hard years in the making. Today’s announcement from Minister Humphreys will ensure we can deliver on our strategic economic objectives and respond to the key trends emerging that will impact Kildare food, beverage, and hospitality businesses in the years to come.”
“Investment of nearly €1.7 million has already been made to get it to a shovel ready project, and we have to thank Coca Cola and Kildare County Council for supporting us to get to this point. This tranche of funding from the Department Rural and Community Development under the ‘Our Rural Future’ policy will make the execution and completion of this project a reality.”
“When complete, this Enterprise zone won’t just act as a home for our county-wide food cluster but will provide manufacturing space for 20 entrepreneurs and critically important it will be a hub of education for the youth of the area to upskill and access the job market.”
The Athy Food and Skills Innovation Hub will also benefit from a partnership and outreach arrangement with Boyne Valley Food Hub project in Navan who are working to empower food and drink entrepreneurs, escalate their growth and provide economic, physical, and networking assets to strive and succeed.